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Sports Retailer Fanatics Secures Trading Card Rights for MLB Ahead of IPO

UTC by Daria Rud · 3 min read
Sports Retailer Fanatics Secures Trading Card Rights for MLB Ahead of IPO
Photo: Unsplash

The company is probably considering IPO, but later. At present, it seems to focus on growing and expanding into new markets such as online gambling and NFTs.

Fanatics, Inc, an American online retailer of licensed sportswear, sports equipment, and merchandise, is preparing for an Initial Public Offering (IPO). Amid the event, Fanatics secured trading card rights for Major League Baseball, the National Football league, and the National Basketball Association.

The deals show that Fanatics is looking to expand beyond sportswear and collectibles, sports betting as well as sports game broadcasting. However, with new deals, Fanatics has fostered the end of MLB’s partnership with Topps. Previously, Topps has been serving Major League Baseball as its partner for trading cards since 1952. In the collaboration with Topps, MLB got a royalty on products sold with its intellectual property. The last time they renewed their deal was in 2018. It is valid till 2025. Then, MLB will turn to Fanatics to produce physical trading cards. Besides, Fanatics plans to start a new trading card company. MLB and the MLB Players Association will get equity there.

Notably, without MLB, Topps will not have licensing deals with leagues including Major League Soccer and the National Hockey League.

Fanatics IPO

The move of Fanatics shows that its CEO Michael Rubin has ambitious plans to expand the company’s activity. By the moment, the company has already formed alliances with most leagues and teams to produce soft and hardgoods merchandise, including sports jerseys. As the pandemic forced all leagues to re-examine business deals to maximize profits after suffering losses, Fanatics also reconsidered its business.

Last summer, Fanatics added more pillars to its business. Dominating the sports vertical and e-commerce, it has seen an opportunity in the trading card market. Some Wall Street analysts even believe that Fanatics will also attempt to buy one of the trading card companies.

Earlier in March this year, Fanatics conducted a major fundraising round that gave it $320 million and more than doubled its previous valuation of $6.2 billion to $12.8 billion. Further, in August, it announced it raised $325 million from new investors. The participants included Silver Lake, Jay-Z’s Roc Nation LLC, Fidelity Investments, Franklin Templeton, Neuberger Berman, Josh Kushner’s Thrive Capital, and Major League Baseball. The latest round brought Fanatics’ valuation to $18 billion.

There are rumors that Fanatics is planning to conduct an IPO. However, earlier this year, its CEO Michael Rubin said in an interview on CNBC’s Squawk Box that the company did not have immediate plans to go public. He stated:

“I think going public is an option for us that we talk about a lot but it’s not something we’re focused on today.”

The company is probably considering IPO, but later. At present, it seems to focus on growing and expanding into new markets such as online gambling and NFTs.

Business News, Deals News, Editor's Choice, IPO News, Market News
Daria Rud
Author Daria Rud

Daria is an economic student interested in the development of modern technologies. She is eager to know as much as possible about cryptos as she believes they can change our view on finance and the world in general.

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